EEOC: no post-offer inquiries about family medical history

Asking existing employees about their family medical history might offer safety benefits in the workplace, both by indicating vulnerabilities that might be countered by protective measures, and by helping to distinguish ailments with a strong congenital influence from those that might signal occupational disease. However, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says that such questioning is “genetic discrimination” and unlawful under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), which became law in 2009. Fabricut, a decorative fabrics firm, will pay $50,000 to settle charges that it improperly asked about family medical history and also that it improperly engaged in disability discrimination by refusing to employ as a clerk a woman it regarded as having carpal tunnel syndrome. [EEOC press release]

One Comment

  • During my efforts on behalf of my employer and the retail industry prior to the passage of the ADA, I used to use as a “reductio ad absurdum” argument the possibility that the law as proposed, could be used to require a jeweler to hire an epileptic as a diamond cutter. It turns out I was prescient in a sense.